I remember at Neogaf people were doubting Splatoon, I didn't.
In fact, I ended up being slightly wrong as Splatoon didn't make the Top 5 best selling Wii U games but that's mainly because Nintendo pretty much discontinued the Wii U much earlier than I anticipated. Splatoon ended up the 6th best selling game on the Wii U, but it's looking like Splatoon 2 will more than double Wii U lifetime sales by the end of 2020. I think there is also a small chance that there is another upgrade planned for Splatoon 2 before Splatoon 3 is announced. Thus sales might see considerable YoY growth during Switch's peak year thus far.
I expect Splatoon 3 will actually see even more growth, as the Devs will have a lot more time to prototype new ideas for the SP, PvP, and PvE. Also, Nintendo is hopefully working on licensing the rights for Splatoon for either spin-off, mobile game, manga, films, or anime. Splatoon devs had to work very quickly to get Splatoon 2 ready for the Switch launch year. Right now with Animal Crossing a decent part of the team is likely working on Splatoon 3, while there is a good possibility that Splatoon 3 will only enter full production next year as the biggest Animal Crossing updates are finalized. I'm sure there was always a small team working on Splatoon 3 since Splatoon 2 finished its planned updates but outside of having an idea about the overall vision for 3 they are still very early into the development cycle.
This is why I think it makes sense for them this year to focus on finalizing some prototypes that were never fully fleshed out. For example, there was a teaser regarding Salmon Run in 2020 by their Twitter account. There are also two modes that never made it into the final game. And finally, there is a great opportunity for some cross-franchise promotion via New Horizon. Splatoon is actually popular among a pretty wide demographic in Japan as both boys and girls play it.
if you fire up the Wii U there is actually still a sizeable population of hardcore players in Japan still playing the first game(I'm the highest rank and can find a game in under a minute). The Switch made Splatoon accessible in Japan but the game hasn't reached its full potential. I think launching Splatoon 3 whenever Nintendo is ready with the Switch 2 is the ideal plan. This will give Splatoon 2 four-to-five years on the market before the new game. Allowing the new game to feel fresher, as Splatoon 2 was made in just two years in order to capitalize on the popularity of Splatoon in Japan which they couldn't really do on a dying platform. It was never going to achieve its full potential on the Wii U but the concept was born there and to me, it's the best Wii U game with Breath of the Wild.
Now Nintendo doesn't have pressure to release a new Splatoon game, and this is why they need to think about another bigger update in order to attract some of the new owners who bought a Switch due to Animal Crossing. Overall I think Splatoon 2 will end up with >15M units lifetime sales. Right now we are close to 11M, by the end of the year, we should get to 12M - leaving an additional 3M to be sold in 2021/2022/2023.Last edited by noshten - on 08 August 2020